Innovation. Technology. Digital transformation. All three words possess components that have the ability to completely transform an organization. If executed right, these components can impact business leaders by changing the way they conduct business strategies.
“Present and future shifts and changes, leading to the necessity of a faster deployment of a digital transformation strategy, can be induced by several causes, often at the same time, on the levels of customer behavior and expectations, new economic realities, societal shifts (e.g. aging populations), ecosystem/industry disruption and (the accelerating adoption and innovation regarding) emerging or existing digital technologies.” i-scoop reports.
In order to fully grasp the idea of innovation, technology, and digital transformation, one must get to the root of what they are. It takes more than just saying the words, it takes a strategic approach to understand what they consist of.
First, let’s recap what digital transformation really means.
The Root Of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is all about the disruptive trends that help organizations keep up to pace with the technology advancements that are in constant flux, differing in every industry.
For example, one digital transformation trend that we are familiar with, artificial intelligence (we even wrote a blog dedicated to this trend, if you missed it, you can view it here) disrupts multiple industries, but each one differently. Like for instance, healthcare uses AI in a completely different way that is different than how finance industry uses it. Same goes for retail and marketing.
“Mobile technologies, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and other digital innovations have drastically changed how quickly customers can get information, thus changing the kind and quality of products and services they expect from the businesses and other agencies with whom they interact.” TechTarget reports.
No matter what the industry, it all starts with the supply chain of a company and continues onward to the workflow that business professionals carry out. This includes what skills employees offer, which will position them to successfully engage with customers.
It helps an organization keep up to pace with the emerging tech trends that we always see, that may seem foreign to you. As technology evolves, so does the economic landscape, and digital transformation helps keep your business up to date.
Now that we have recapped digital transformation, it is important to make a decision as a business leader if you are interested in being the leader that integrates this trend into your business. If so, that means you will become an innovative technology leader.
You may be asking yourself why you would want to become this kind of leader. What benefits will come of it? How will you do this? Don’t worry. We have the answers, and it begins with one word:
Innovation can mean a lot of things and can be unique to different people. It can mean a bright idea, or invention, that can be deployed to satisfy a customer’s need, make an internal business change, or fulfill employee and customer expectations. Approaching innovation in a strategic way is what sets innovative technology leaders apart from other leaders.
Depending on the context, innovation can be a large risk that organizations make. It can be something as simple as adding flexible work hours for your employees or integrating a new technical system that affects customer service and engagement.
According to Business Dictionary, innovation can be classified into two different categories.
- Evolutionary innovations (continuous or dynamic evolutionary innovation) that are brought about by many incremental advances in technology or processes
- Revolutionary innovations (also called discontinuous innovations) which are often disruptive and new.
Businesses can adapt these strategies into their operations in order to receive a well-rounded approach to innovation. This approach will involve all parties that are involved in the business’ organization. Innovation is the core of digital transformation. It starts with an idea, meets leadership and skill, and is then executed into a business. Major enterprises have benefited from adding innovation into their operations.
So, as a business leader, where do you begin when it comes to integrating innovation into your business? According to experts, it starts with strategy.
“Improving the financial return on innovation is ultimately the name of the game. But when it comes to getting results, it’s not so much about the size of your budget. It’s about how effectively you spend it—from strategy through execution.” PWC reports.
Innovation Leader 101
First, Have A Vision
In order to become an innovation leader, you must start with a vision. This vision does not have to be some grand scheme that you think of by yourself. You can simply look at the leading innovators in your industry and attempt to understand what their vision is. Most of the time, it’s clear. It’s to either move the enterprise in a path that involves high-end tech or to simply jump on the digital transformation wave. Either way, it starts with a vision.
The easy way to do this is to think of a statement that defines your business. This statement will be what your audience will see when they interact with your brand. It should be easy to understand and it should take time to execute. Next, understanding what goals and challenges you will face as a leader is important.
“Uniting innovation strategy with a company’s overall business strategy is essential to the success of any innovation program,” Forbes reports.
With any change, there will most likely be challenges that come with it. It is crucial to accept this and be able to meet them strategically. Innovative leaders aim to inspire, so passion is usually involved.
Fight the fear of change
Innovation involves replacing fear with passion and ambition. It is the desire to do better, to be better, and to pass this attitude along to your colleagues and employees.
For the sake of sounding extremely cheesy, we will boil it down to one sentence: innovation equals opportunity, not fear.
Don’t Be Close-Minded
It is important to look at a variety of approaches before deciding what ideas will work. Being able to gain knowledge, accept what will work and what won’t work, is what being an innovative leader is about.
Learning lessons along the way are all apart of the digital transformation shift.
Learn From Others
Being open to suggestions is what innovation is all about. Being focused, easy to use, and well resourceful are the key components that innovation strategies need to survive.
Having a commitment to learning is what makes digital transformation so great. We see great enterprise leaders like IBM, Apple and, Google lead their industry to success while integrating new innovative trends into operations. Becoming familiar with what your competitors are doing and learning from their mistakes and rewards, will put you ahead of the game.
Effectively Distribute Jobs
Your employees are going to rely on you for help when it comes to jumping on board digital transformation. It is important to understand that leading them in a direction that will be effective for the organization and the goals you have in mind is crucial to success.
“Today, companies are increasingly pushing the boundaries of innovation both inside and outside their organizations. They are breaking down traditional silos and tapping a much wider ecosystem for new ideas, insights, talent, and technology.” Forbes reports.
Knowing your employees’ skills and strengths can be a clue to where to lead them. For example, knowing what skills are needed in order to implement a strong IT department is crucial when disrupting jobs. Understanding what will bring real value to your operation, and what purpose people play in that value, is important.
It most likely will turn out that your employees are new on this digital transformation journey as well. Being a helpful source of information is where your leadership role will take off. Knowing what role you play in this transformation will be effective because you can figure out the essential purpose you play as well.
Collaboration Is The Key To Success
You’ve heard it a million times. Collaboration is the key to success. You’ve heard it so much because it turns out that it’s true. Collaboration opens new doors for everyone involved in the innovative process. Working together is crucial when it comes to carrying out different elements of digital transformation.
Internal resources will work together in order to achieve one overall goal. (and if you followed step 1, you have a great goal to carry out).
Expect Failure, Accept Failure
With any new operation, comes success and failure. Failures are the building blocks to success (cheesy again, we’ll work on it). Without fail, you won’t know what will work. You must experiment with different trends in order to figure out what fits within your organization.
The innovation leader brings forward agile thinking to the workplace. To be truly agile, you must learn how to experiment in order to succeed.
Innovation And Security Challenges
Deploying new innovative technologies into your business can make your company vulnerable to cybersecurity, so it will require executing necessary IT skills to make sure your networks are protected.
“Is it possible to adopt new technologies and maintain and improve security in an increasingly fluid datacenter environment? Some industry leaders would insist that it’s not only possible, but imperative, to achieve both goals – and become the center of innovation for the company.” Red Hat reports.
If you are migrating towards digital transformation, chances are you are dealing with tools like cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. These tools bring a shift in work dynamics, especially the way your internal networks operate.
These innovative trends need the necessary security tactics in order to survive. Security is now a part of your digital transformation journey, and it should be a priority.
As an innovative technology leader, understanding the risks that are associated with innovation is crucial while moving forward. CIOs now play a crucial role in the way organizations keep up with innovation. IT leaders are expected to catch up and perform tasks that offer speed, and agility, and put IT efforts in line with business efforts.
Learning about the digital transformation trends that are constantly evolving is one step in the right direction while becoming an innovative technology leader. The next step is integrating these trends, and understanding how important your role is.
If you want to learn about the digital trends that are disrupting your industry and potentially your enterprise, join us at our Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly.
The Millennium Alliance is thrilled to present the second 2017 edition of Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly, put together by the industry, for the industry. Join us November 16-17, for a series of executive education roundtables, keynote presentations from speakers like Robin Bienfait, CEO of Emnovate, collaborative think tanks, educational workshops, and networking sessions will offer industry-specific topics and trends to ensure your company sustains its competitive advantage.
Limited sponsorship opportunities are available. Download the Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly Sponsorship Prospectus for more information >>
As digital transformation continues to emerge, it is important for business leaders to transform into a new, kind of leader. An innovative technology leader is a person who can successfully merge digital transformation ideas and innovative techniques into business operations, using speed, agility, all while making sure each employee is guided toward the right direction and everyone is on board with the key function of digital transformation: innovation.
As we move closer to 2018, prominent digital technology and business leaders from all the major private and public sectors are looking to CIOs to manage the explosion of information that has ignited digital enterprise. CIOs now play a crucial role in the way business operations are carried out and are expected to work hand in hand with the new leader that is constantly growing. As experts predict that we are moving towards a “Digital Industrial Revolution”, it is important for all business leaders to fully grasp how important IT leaders are. Understanding how mobile, social, and cloud are critical for organizations as new opportunities are created in order to stay ahead of the competition.
With a new innovative technology leader, comes security risks, failures, benefits, and success. Learning how to become a successful innovative technology leader can help put your business above the competition.
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